Virginia is for Givers

University and health system kick off campaign to help colleagues, neighbors in need

CVC Charity Fair Nov. 12

Join Rodney the Ram on Monday, Nov. 12, for the CVC Charity Fair on the first floor of the Gateway Building. Faculty and staff who have not yet made their CVC donations can stop by between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to meet representatives from CVC charities who will answer questions and provide additional information. Laptops will be on hand so employees can make their donation on the spot and be entered into a drawing to win basketball tickets. At the end of the campaign, another drawing will be held for basketball tickets for anyone who has given to this year's campaign.

Even in lean economic times, there are benefits to being a Virginian.

Should a crisis occur, hundreds of charities statewide offer assistance. For instance, the Center for Human-Animal Interaction provides animal-assisted therapy and pet visitation at the VCU Medical Center. The Association for the Support of Children with Cancer provides emotional, social, spiritual and financial support to children with cancer and serious blood disorders.

Other programs offer after-school and summer enrichment programs for schoolchildren, tutoring and homework assistance for youth and health and housing resources for adult and senior residents, while state employees are eligible for financial support through the Virginia State Employee Assistance Fund. Qualifying hardships include unplanned emergencies such as sudden illness, injury and damage to their dwelling.

All of these charities participate in the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign, the workplace-giving campaign by state employees for state employees.

Virginia Commonwealth University and the VCU Health System run a combined campaign each year. This year's campaign, "Virginia is for Givers," kicks off today, Oct. 1, and runs through Nov. 30.

"I invite you to join me in supporting the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC)," VCU President Michael Rao wrote to all university and health system employees. "As part of our Quest for Distinction, this campaign provides an opportunity for us to transform lives and communities and to show how VCU in particular is for givers."

While many Virginia households are stressed financially, charities that help the truly destitute are struggling. Making matters worse is that participation in the CVC has shrunk in the past few years.

"People think that to make a difference, they need to give a lot, which they don't feel like they have right now," said Campaign Co-Chair Debbie Fitzgerald. "Literally one dollar can have an effect. Giving $2 per pay period would make an enormous difference."

Some employees may not even realize they already participate in VCU's charitable campaign, Fitzgerald added. People who participate in charity runs or walks — such as the annual Richmond Heart Walk later this month — are actually contributing to CVC charities.

"They just need to let us know," Fitzgerald said, "so we can have a more accurate measurement of VCU's involvement."

Online pledge systems are available again this year. University employees have a new easier-to-use online system that is accessible either with a VCU employee ID number (V number) or email address. Health system employees may use the online pledge system available through Employee Self-Service (ESS) on the intranet at vcuhshr, or through the internet at Details on how to make a donation are available at

Cash and check payments also will be accepted.

For more information — including how to make sure participation in a charity walk is counted or how to arrange for a guest speaker from of the participating charities — contact co-chairs Debbie Fitzgerald at or Marie Greenwood at

VCU Charities
Below are the charities associated with VCU. Click here to learn more about other charities or to view the CVC charity directory.

Association for the Support of Children with Cancer (ASK) (code 3281)
ASK is dedicated to making life better for children with cancer and serious blood disorders by providing emotional, social, spiritual and financial support to children being treated at the VCU Children's Medical Center.

Carver Promise (code 3835)
Carver Promise provides mentors and other educational and social supports to Richmond's George Washington Carver Elementary students to help them reach their greatest potential.

Center for Human-Animal Interaction (code 3087)
The Center for Human-Animal Interaction provides animal-assisted therapy and pet visitation at the VCU Medical Center and conducts research and provides education on the health benefits of interacting with pets. The center also provides pet-loss support.

Children's Hospital Foundation (code 3622)
The foundation supports the hospital in its mission to be a resource and provider of specialized medical and therapeutic services customized to meet the needs of children and their families.

The Faison School for Autism (code 3549)
The Faison School provides early intervention and intensive applied behavior analysis therapy to preschool (18 months to 6 years) and school-age children (6 to 22 years) on the autism spectrum.

Hospital Hospitality House (code 3709)
The Hospital Hospitality House provides lodging and nonmedical support in a home-like environment to families seeking specialized medical care at the VCU Medical Center, the veterans hospital and other hospitals in the Richmond area.

Massey Cancer Center (code 3657)
The VCU Massey Cancer Center is one of 63 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers in the United States and provides a broad range of cancer-related research, educational activities and health care services.

Pediatric Palliative Care & Pain Management (code 3501)
Pediatric Palliative Care provides services to optimize the quality of care of infants, children, adolescents and their families who face the challenges of living with a life-limiting condition, to integrate palliative care principles and comprehensive pain and symptom management into hospital-wide pediatric, clinical care and to educate pediatric health care providers.

VCU-Carver Partnership (code 3513)
The VCU-Carver partnership provides support and services to enrich the lives of Carver residents, such as tutoring and homework assistance for youth and health and housing resources for adult and senior citizens.

VCU Parkinson's and Movement Disorder Center (code 3674)
Combining research, education and outreach, the VCU Parkinson's Disease Center provides a coordinated approach for developing strategies that combat neurodegenerative diseases and movement disorders.

Virginia Council on Economic Education (code 3940)
VCEE promotes the economic and financial literacy of Virginia's K-12 students by training teachers, providing curriculum materials and actively advocating economic education in the commonwealth.

Virginia State Employee Assistance Fund (code 3040)
The VSEAF provides financial support to employees of the Commonwealth who are experiencing hardship due to an unplanned emergency such as sudden illness, injury, and/or damage to their dwelling.

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